"No matter how difficult the fight is or what trials must be overcome, as long as there's even one Warrior of Light, the darkness shall not overtake this land!"
The Steward of Light slammed his staff into the floor, and for a moment he blazed fiercely, sending a rush of light throughout the room and banishing the creeping shadows. For one moment, the light displayed the splendor of the old Throne Room, illuminating the fresco-covered ceilings and the myriad paintings that hung on the walls. The golden floor tiles shimmered once more, and candlesticks along the edge of the room seemed to come to life again. But then it was done. The Steward sank back onto the throne as the light shrank. The ceilings were lost to the dark, and the walls were too. The floor took on a gray and grimy shade, and the room was now lit only by the flickering glow of the staff.
As his eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, the Steward noticed something more. Standing close to the shadows was the Last Warrior. Normally incandescent, the Warrior now only emitted a faintly glowing pallor. His wings, normally like those of a dragonfly, now hung lifeless at his sides. His slanted eyes held only the dimmest sparkle; his tattered robes were gray.
"I had retreated into myself, and the darkness was eating at my body. That burst of light brought me back," he said.
The Steward felt tears of relief welling. The staff flickered, and for a moment all the Steward could see was the Warrior.
"Yet it appears you have almost exhausted the staff’s power," the Warrior said.
"Come here! Come here!" the Steward beckoned with his free hand. "Protect the staff!" He broke into sobs.
The Warrior lingered for a moment. "You're being foolish," he said, but he still took a step forward. The darkness followed him. "The darkness is already in the throne room. It already covers the entire face of the world. You can't bring victory. I can't bring victory." With every word, he took a step. With every step, the darkness drew closer to the throne.
The Steward drew back in terror. The body of the Warrior was all that glowed in the darkness, and if in the light the Warrior had ever been an imposing champion, in the dark he was almost a skeleton, a pale, avenging shade come to curse and betray. The Warrior came to a stop directly in front of the Steward. He was nine feet tall and looked down upon the whimpering Steward from an accusing height.
"All you've ever known to do when confronted with the dark is to dig in your heels and fight it. No matter the difficulty, no matter the odds, no matter the obvious outcome of defeat. You have lost your power. Give me the staff."
The Steward panicked, and drew a knife from his clothes.
The dark leaned in, anticipatory.
With a cry, the Steward lunged off the throne and thrust the knife deep into the Warrior's stomach. The skin crinkled like paper, and darkness spewed forth, blinding the Steward and choking his nose and throat. He fell to the floor, gasping.
The Last Warrior looked down. "You can't hide from the truth. You can't fight the dark alone. Whenever you do, you only imitate it. Any Warrior you created had only a veneer of light over the festering darkness. Much, I know, like your own soul." He paused as the flood of darkness slowed and settled in the lower half of the room. He could not see the Steward anymore, and only the flickering top of the staff rose above the murk. "I know you can feel it, the dark seeping through your body like a frosty ooze. It knows it's winning."
The Last Warrior of Light watched as the staff twitched. Tendrils of the dark began snaking up its length, licking hungrily toward the fading gleam. The Warrior took hold of it with one faintly glowing hand, and the dark tendrils sizzled and fell away into the murk when they reached it. The Warrior lifted the staff above the layer of heavy dark.
"I truthfully don't know what happens next," he said. "You are no longer the Steward of Light, but your orders still stand. 'Protect the staff. Do not let the darkness overtake this land.' I cannot do this by fighting. I will take the staff away and hide with it somewhere in an underground hollow too small for shadows to form. I will wait there. Perhaps the Source of All Light will return to this world one day, and restore the staff. Until that day, I hide."
The Last Warrior of Light took the staff and spread his wings. He vanished from the throne room as fast as light can travel.